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Thread: Palacio and the Rest of Our Attackers

  1. #1

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    Palacio and the Rest of Our Attackers

    I started writing something about this a while ago, but I guess I never got around to finishing it. Today's loss against Roma gave me a reason to think about it more in depth though, so here I am...

    At first glance, our striker department has a bunch of specialists, with no clear standout "all purpose" player for me. Palacio is the hard-running false 9, Icardi is the poacher, Milito is the ultimate linkup specialist, Belfodil is the most technical of the bunch. To support them, there's Ricky for dribbling, and Rodrigol/Belfo are both capable of playing as SS for different purposes. There's no clear first choice, which was exciting to me as a tactical enthusiast because it meant that (in theory), Walt would have to rotate regularly depending on the opposition. What's actually happened though, is that Walt has basically recreated what he did at Napoli, except that he doesn't have a Cavani here.

    I think our first game of the season is the perfect way to describe how we play, that 2-0 win against Genoa. First half, we keep possession, press them high, look comfortable every time they attack, but we never looked like scoring. Second half, Mazzarri throws Icardi on, our attack looks better, but our defence suddenly looks unstable. Why? I'd argue that it's exactly because of the Ricky-Palacio duo. We can press very well with them and keep possession pretty easily against most teams, but, unless our midfield gets its act together, we have no reliable way of scoring.

    The reason I brought up Cavani is because he's the ideal Mazzarri striker. Lots of energy, very hard worker, lends himself to Mazzarri's pressing game, but he's also a good target man (and I use that term loosely). Cavani can score while under tremendous pressure, he does just fine when he's isolated and tightly marked. That's not to take anything away from Palacio, he's a wonderful goalscorer, but his approach to grabbing goals is exactly the opposite, he slips away from pressure BEFORE getting the ball, which, in a high-pressure system, means that he needs someone ahead of him to divert the attention of defenders if he wants to score. Unfortunately for us, that hasn't been happening. The first half of all our games is entirely about the defensive side of Rodrigol's game, he gets very little useful support when we're attacking, and ultimately he ends up not scoring.

    The counter-argument is that Mazzarri doesn't necessarily need us to score in the first half, our entire gameplan seems to be about shutting down the game in the first and opening it up in the second. Trouble is, we get so much of the ball, that it's inevitable that we'll try to score. This means CBs pushing up to join the midfield, both WBs bombing forward to keep the width, and we still can't score. Meanwhile, the other team has all the space they need to whip out a long ball and catch us on the break, and that's exactly what cost us against Roma. Most will argue that it was the Pereira factor, I'll argue that he was a victim of us giving Gervinho too much space to counter. If we're going to keep possession conservatively for the first half, we need to play conservatively. Until then, I'll keep assuming that we want a goal from the get-go.


    So, Palacio...
    Basically, I'm saying that he needs someone to create space ahead of him so he can score. The easy answer would be to put on another forward, two problems with that though. 1: Who does the other forward replace? Replacing a midfielder would fuck up our balance, replacing Ricky would take the edge off our play. Problem 2: None of our other forwards really have the necessary work rate to start. Mazzarri needs his forwards to press, Belfodil casually saunters around the field, Icardi interprets his defensive role differently (he's more about occupying defenders and making sure they never get the ball, but I've yet to see him press), and while Milito is a willing runner, his stamina has gone down the shitter lately. So Walt really doesn't have any other options unless he can get one of Icardi or Belfodil to run, and so far he hasn't succeeded at that.

    That leaves us with the question: How can we get goals with Palacio and Alvarez leading the lines?
    I always say that Palacio playing upfront is a good idea if you want to get your midfielders to attack, and, to Walt's credit, that is what we're doing. Unfortunately they're not being very efficient with their attacks. Guarin's a good close-range finisher, but he never gets into the box and instead looks to sky the ball/cross it and hope Palacio can outjump 4 defenders. Meanwhile, Taider, despite his two goals against Sassuolo, doesn't seem too efficient inside the box. Cambiasso is great inside the box but should not get forward because that exposes our defence. Lastly, we've got Naga, who is a menace of a finisher, but he's the same type as Palacio (requires someone ahead of him to make space).

    So what we're left with is a team that uses two of its main goalscorer's three key attributes, the two being his work rate and mobility, but leaves out his third key attribute (finishing), resulting in a system where the main goalscorer can't score goals. The reason Cavani worked so well is because Walt built a team that was designed to entirely match his main attributes. I'm sure that, in due time, we'll see a better use of Palacio, but for now it's just so frustrating to watch.

    Because I'm tired now, I don't feel like dumping out the rest of what I felt like saying. However, look for future installments (maybe tomorrow) where I try to look at formations or combinations that make the most of our attack.
    Last edited by wambam; 06 Oct 13 at 06:45.


  2. #2

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    it's one loss.. and the team is pretty young... i will give my patient to the team and mazza, give them space and peace to grow...
    it is already right from the beginning, we didn't challenge for scudetto.. and we stil don't

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    I'm not really addressing the loss, this is something I've been noticing all season, the loss just inspired me to think harder about this topic.

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    Those are all valid points. Also, how good in Alvarez actually? Can we afford to play a 3-4-3 (who would be in the middle that wouldn't make midfield look like total shite) and would Alvarez-one of Diego/Icardi/Loveshack-Palacio work good in attack or would it fail?

    I'm scared of this season, since we hope that Alvarez will make us more dangerous in every game, but he is no Cassano. He wont be able to dribble into the box and pass to somebody every fucking game.
    Quote Originally Posted by Shaun View Post
    If Icardi is ever sold for 110m euros i'll stop watching football and promote Pimp to moderator.

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    Alvarez offers more than Cassano in the sense that he actually ​moves.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fitzy View Post
    Guarin can be categorised as a box-to-box midfielder because you know that most of his team mates will be frantically running back to their own box soon after he runs at the opposition's.

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    Ricky's threat is odd, I don't know what to make of it. We expect him to create our chances and open defences up like Cassano, but that's not his game. What he does in this system is create overloads on the wings, he lets Johnny and/or Naga get into the box, and he gives us more of a crossing threat. The side of his game that I think could be used more to our benefit is his close range 1-touch play, he did a lot of that around the end of last season (Johnny's sweet goal against Roma being the standout example). If he can do that inside the box, I think we're a lot closer to my target of getting Palacio to score regularly.

    My basic thought is that if one of Guarin or Kova can get into the box, then that player can take attention away from Palacio. Lay the ball off to Ricky who 1-times it to Rodrigol and we're set.


    As for a 3-4-3, I think the most effective midfield duo in our squad would be Taider-Kova (or, if he's back to his best fitness, King Gaby can do well in a 2 man midfield). It can't be too offensive or too defensive, it's got to be loaded with energy and central presence.
    The forwards, I suppose Palacio-Milito-Ricky is the trio that makes most sense. Although if you look at the 3-4-3 Mazzarri played at Napoli, it was more of a subtle change to his usual 3-5-2 where he really just moved Hamsik further out to the right, so maybe a 3-4-3 with 3 true attackers isn't what he'd go for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaun View Post
    Alvarez offers more than Cassano in the sense that he actually ​moves.
    He does. That's the good part. Because our midfield is still somewhat weak and needs help from Alvarez.

    But he isn't as good as Cassano, not even close. We really lack that kind of a player.
    Quote Originally Posted by Shaun View Post
    If Icardi is ever sold for 110m euros i'll stop watching football and promote Pimp to moderator.

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    It's hard to find a player that offers Cassano's creative ability while remaining mobile enough to suit Mazzarri's system.

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    At the same time though, I never found the Cassano-Palacio duo to be that effective. Cassano tends to find passes for a physical striker to latch onto, but I felt like Palacio suffered from the same problems when Cassano tried to feed him directly. I don't think creativity is the issue for this team, we have a lot of ways to play the final ball, just no one to play it to.

  11. #10
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    Cassano put on countless lobbed through pass for Palacio to run onto, he catches his run pretty perfectly with his timely pass.

    This season Palacio has just been rarely served with such quality pass this season.

    Alvarez is just a different type of player, it isnt that he isnt good, but Cassano's vision is unmatched in Serie A apart from someone like Totti.

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    Honestly, I don't remember that many instances of it happening, at least definitely nowhere near as many as of Cassano finding Milito.

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    I really liked the idea behind today's formation: Ricky as a box-to-box midfielder with Kova supporting Palacio. I'm not the first to say it, Ricky does well in midfield (and his defending has gotten less clumsy, although he did give away a ball that led to the cross that led to the equalizer, overall he had a strong game in my opinion).
    Kova is the wild card, but he can grow into a very good AM, and I'm starting to think that would maximize the team's potential.

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    So one month later, and Kova still plays 30 minutes at best. Will he ever play instead of Guarin?
    Last edited by Dylan; 02 Dec 13 at 03:12.
    Quote Originally Posted by Shaun View Post
    If Icardi is ever sold for 110m euros i'll stop watching football and promote Pimp to moderator.

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    I think (rather, I hope) that Mazzarri is grooming him in training. We won't see Kova play until he's mastered all the runs that Walt expects him to make and is able to assert himself from the top of a diamond.

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